Workshop / Summer / Professional Development Workshop for Artists & Teachers / Approved by the Georgia Department of Education for 6 PLU’s

Program Description

When Art was included in the recent STEM educational agenda that emphasizes Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, STEM + Art = STEAM. The TreeSmART workshop will provide experiences for both artists and teachers to incorporate these principles into their practice using trees as a theme. An introduction to local tree ecology by UGA Costa Rica naturalists, on-site sketching and journaling, resource sharing, field trips, and several hands-on STEAM projects will be included.

Participants will complete several TreeSmART projects, integrating each of the STEAM disciplines. They will be introduced to resources on tree ring science and champion trees, and will engage in campus activities that incorporate design thinking and problem-solving. Viewing tree cross-sections, they will assess tree rings for type, age, environmental factors, and visual patterns to create radial composition drawings. From these, small groups will work collaboratively using the Engineering Design Process to plan and test their prototype for a walking labyrinth inspired by their selected tree ring. Throughout, the STEAM approach will be emphasized as an interdisciplinary path for creativity and wonder.

The program begins in the capital city of San José, making a visit to the National Museum, but will spend the majority of its time in the Monteverde Cloud Forest at the UGA Costa Rica campus. It will then conclude at Playa Sámara, a coastal jewel in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste region.

Objectives: To prepare and engage teachers to include Art within the STEM approach, and to encourage an integrative conservation ethic through focusing on tree ecology.

Need: House Resolution 51, introduced in February 2013, states that adding Art into the Federal STEM program encourages economic growth and innovation.

Background: STEM to STEAM is an initiative first led by the Rhode Island School of Design to add Art and Design to the STEM educational agenda. The goal is to provide real solutions for our everyday lives where artists and designers can effectively communicate complex data and scientific information. Their tools and methods offer new models for creative problem solving and interdisciplinary partnerships in a changing world.

Guiding Principles:

  • To serve the UGACR mission regarding educational leadership, conservation, interdisciplinarity, community engagement, and problem solving through the arts.
  • To relate to the natural environment of the UGACR campus through STEAM.
UGA Costa Rica Campus

Program courses are taught using both state-of-the art classrooms and through “living classroom” excursions. All in all, the 155-acre campus, located in San Luis de Monteverde, is comprised of 45,000 square feet of built space, which includes computer labs, spacious cabinas, a student union, and recreational facilities. Additionally, there are nearly 3 miles of hiking trails throughout the property, along with a working organic farm and reforestation nursery.


April 15 2014




July 17 – July 30, 2014


Enrollment is limited to 15 qualified participants, who will earn 6 professional development units (PLU) through the Georgia Department of Education, transferable to other states with approval.

To apply, prospective participants must submit a complete UGA Costa Rica program application. A $300 deposit will be required 14 days after your official acceptance, which will be refunded if the applicant withdraws by the program’s withdrawal deadline (see below).

For more information, contact June Julian. You may also reach the UGACR Office at (706) 542-6203.



Program fees are approximately $1,800*, which covers all lodging (both on- and off-campus), three meals per day, travel insurance, and all sponsored in-country transportation and entry fees. Additional costs include personal items and international airfare.

* The final program fee is subject to enrollment.

All payments will be made to the University of Georgia Foundation:

UGA Foundation
Milledge Centre, Suite 100
34 S. Milledge Ave.
Athens, GA 30602-5582


Application Deadline: April 15, 2014

Withdrawal deadline: April 29, 2014

After this date, students who withdraw from the program will be responsible to forfeit their initial deposit as well as any program costs that have been spent on their behalf (e.g., hotel reservations, transportation, and payments to local vendors). To withdraw a student must submit the official withdrawal form.

Final Payment Deadline: June 15, 2014

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